Defence company Saab is expecting a dramatic lift if Donald Trump wins the US presidential election and frightens NATO countries into increasing their military spending. Even Hillary Clinton is clear in her election campaign that European NATO countries should contribute more.
“When you look at the countries that do not meet NATO’s target and what that is of their GDP then you can quickly see that the defence industry in Europe, and to some extent the USA, does not have the capacity to deliver in the case of sudden demand and a fast increase,” says Håkan Buskhe, CEO of Saab.
Donald Trump has said that countries that do not pay their part in NATO, two percent of GDP, cannot expect the USA’s support in the event of an attack.
NATO has begun raising its profile in the Baltic region, with American soldiers constantly present for the first time in the Baltic and in Poland. At the same time opinion polls suggest support for Sweden joining the alliance has grown over the past two years. “The Swedish people and the Swedish political world must weigh up the situation and make a supremely Swedish decision,” stresses Douglas Lute, US NATO Ambassador who was in Sweden on Tuesday for talks with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Defence Ministry.
Lute emphasised that there is a difference between being a partner with NATO, such as Sweden, and being a member. Both Georgia and Ukraine are partners, which meant that when they experienced war with Russia in 2008 and 2014 respectively, they received no help from the alliance.
When asked what the effects of Sweden and Finland joining NATO would be, he answered, “It would be like a street with traffic going both ways. We would have use of the military capacity that both countries would contribute to the alliance… What Sweden would get is a life insurance, in which the current 28 NATO members would respond in accordance with article 5 of the NATO treaty.”
In response to the suggestion that joining NATO may destabilise the region, Douglas Lute says, “Russian’s actions are clearly destabilising the security situation in the Euro-Atlantic area in a clearly fundamental way.”
After visiting Stockholm, Lute is travelling to Riga, Latvia.